District Court Judge Rules in Favor of Afton House and Against the City of Afton
After a six-year battle with the City of Afton, a Washington County District Court judge has ruled in favor of Afton House Inn and against the City’s motion to vacate the Court’s judgment. Last year, a judge ruled that the City of Afton would be required to pay Afton House Inn $805,000 in damages, over $250,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs, and must also immediately proceed with condemnation of additional land from the Afton House Inn that was used to build a bike path and sewer lines outside of the prescribed easements.
The dispute between Afton House Inn and the City of Afton arose in December 2014 when the City commenced condemnation proceedings against several property owners in order to construct a new sewer system and improve its levee. The Afton House Inn disputed its written offer provided by the City and appealed the offer to the City’s condemnation committee. A condemnation committee determined in 2019 that the Afton House Inn should receive $518,000 in damages and compensation. The City then appealed the committee decision to the Washington County District Court.
The Court, similar to the condemnation committee, found in favor of the Afton House Inn; however, in March 2020, a jury found that Afton House Inn was actually owed $805,700 in damages. In addition to this award, and because the jury’s award was more than 40% greater than the City’s original offer, the judge ruled that the City must also pay Afton House Inn’s attorneys’ fees and expert costs.
In November 2020, the City brought a motion to vacate the case, based on lack of jurisdiction and claiming that the jury award covered land outside the petition. On Thursday, April 1, 2021, the judge ruled in favor of the Afton House Inn again.